Chelsea one of three clubs under fire as Premier League tighten up transfer 'swap' rules

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 28 Jun 2024 00:50 CDT
  • 3 min read
Omari Kellyman, Chelsea

Chelsea are one of three Premier League clubs who could face scrutiny over the legality of their summer transfer business, with all 20 clubs having received a warning over what are described as “fraudulent” deals.

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The Telegraph reports that Chelsea, along with Aston Villa and Everton, are set to feel the heat over their recent activity in the transfer market.

The Premier League, it is stated, has sent an email to all clubs reminding them of their responsibilities and says it is looking for “issues of concern” as to whether transfers are good faith “arm’s length” deals over £1 million.

READ MORE: Romano drops Osimhen update as Chelsea expected to complete striker signing

This comes about after claims that clubs have “swapped” young players for extravagant sums in order to comply with the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

Chelsea, Villa and Everton, meanwhile, have been active in transferring players between one another.

READ MORE: Chelsea line up sale of wonderkid to continue spending spree

Current ETV
Player image Omari Kellyman
Omari Kellyman

M, AM (C)

Aston Villa U23 logo

Aston Villa U23

Omari Kellyman
Omari Kellyman

M, AM (C)

Aston Villa U23

Aston Villa U23


ETV Range

€0.6M - €1.0M

The Blues, for example, have signed Omari Kellyman from Aston Villa for £19 million but sold Unai Emery’s club Ian Maatsen for £37.5m in a deal that was stressed as a separate transaction.

Similarly, Everton signed Villa’s Tim Iroegbunam for £9m but sold the Birmingham side Lewis Dobbin for £10m.

Such deals could theoretically help teams massage their financial figures because in football it is standard practise to put down the whole value of the sale in one financial year but to amortise any expense for the duration of the player’s contract.

Fee vs Estimated Transfer Value (ETV)

NameToFromFee (€m)ETV (€m)
Ian MaatsenAston VillaChelsea44.332.1
Omari KellymanChelseaAston Villa22.50.8
Lewis DobbinEvertonAston Villa11.82.6
Tim IroegbunamAston VillaEverton10.63.5

For example, signing one player for £10m on a five-year deal goes down in a club’s accounts as a £2m investment in each of the next five years. But sell a player for £10m and that is pure profit in the books. So one player going out at that value and another coming in instantly offers an £8m profit.

This is important when it comes to PSR because Premier League clubs cannot make more than £105m in losses over a rolling three-year period. Breach that and you get a penalty, as Everton and Nottingham Forest did last season as they were docked points.

What punishment could Chelsea, Villa and Everton receive?

The Premier League now appears to be investigating whether Chelsea, Aston Villa and Everton breached its section B.15, which requires clubs to act in “utmost good faith” towards one another and the league.

It could be decided that these deals do not represent “fair market value (FMV)”, which is based on 18 factors, including the player’s age, position, playing statistics, honours and injury history.

The Telegraph also states: “The Premier League will assess the ‘financial state and relative bargaining position’ of the clubs involved and ‘any urgent need for liquidity’ in the selling club”.

The Premier League has the capacity to demand a club returns a transfer fee, in full or partially, if it judges a fee has been inflated.

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